Tex Beneke Biography

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Gordon Beneke, 12 February 1914, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, d. 31 May 2000, Costa Mesa, California, USA. Starting out on soprano saxophone, Beneke switched to tenor, working with various bands in the south-west. In 1938, he joined Glenn Miller where, in addition to featured tenor, he was also a regular vocalist. Beneke sang with engaging charm, if limited ability, on such classic hits as ‘I Gotta Gal In Kalamazoo’, ‘Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree’, and ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’. Strongly influenced by the driving, big-toned tradition of Texas tenors, Beneke’s playing added a jazz flavour to many Miller dance hits, including ‘In The Mood’ and ‘String Of Pearls’, on which he duetted with fellow tenor Al Klink. At the outbreak of World War II, Beneke worked with Miller’s singing group, the Modernaires, then joined the US Navy where he played in a navy band. After the war, following Miller’s death, Beneke was invited by Miller’s executors to direct the Miller orchestra. In 1950, he relinquished this role but continued to lead his own band which, not surprisingly, played Miller-style music and enjoyed several chart hits on the RCA - Victor Records label. He continued leading bands into the 90s, bringing unfailing good humour and enthusiasm to a somewhat overexposed corner of popular music.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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